Joe Lopez, a retired sergeant with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and candidate for San Jose City Council District 2.
Joe Lopez, a retired sergeant with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, is running for the District 2 San Jose City Council seat. Photo courtesy of Joe Lopez.

Two frontrunners have emerged in a competitive race to replace San Jose Councilmember Sergio Jimenez in District 2 — with the top two vote-getters advancing to a November runoff to fill the open seat.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, retired Santa Clara County sheriff deputy Joe Lopez leads his three rivals with 35% of the vote. He is trailed by Pamela Campos who secured 24.3% of the vote, Babu Prasad who netted 21.4% and Vanessa Sandoval with 19.2%.

The early results show a voter turnout of about 37.3%, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. The registrar’s office is expecting turnout for this primary election to land at about 35% to 45%, officials said on Election Day. There are approximately 1,025 unprocessed ballots remaining.

The top two candidates in the primary will face each other in a runoff during the general election in November.

Lopez, who also ran for the seat in 2016, said on election night he feels humbled by the results.

“It’s been a long, hard road,” Lopez told San José Spotlight. “I was not really the chosen one to run in this race when you look at all the other resources that were poured into the race. I figured with a grassroots campaign, as long as I stuck to the issues and I was honest with people that they would get my message and they have.”

The candidates are vying to succeed Jimenez who is terming out after eight years on the city council. Jimenez, a progressive who often championed labor-friendly policies, dual endorsed Prasad and Sandoval, his chief of staff for nearly seven years.

The district stretches from the border of Morgan Hill and up to a portion of South San Jose, ending at Sylvandale Avenue.

Lopez is a member of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. He has served three times on the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury. He has also served on San Jose’s Human Services Commission and the San Jose Board of Fair Campaign and Political Practices.

Campos is a policy and program officer for a nonprofit that invests funds into low-income developments. She led Prasad by only about two dozen votes.

“We’re feeling good about where we’re at and right now, as the most recent results come in, we’re poised to make the top two,” said Kurt Frewing, a spokesperson for Campos. “But we’re not declaring victory or anything. We’re just going to let the night play out.”

Prasad said he’s not counting himself out yet.

“I’m really optimistic. I know I’m going to make it,” Prasad told San José Spotlight.

Prasad serves as the president of the District 2 Leadership Council and Hayes Neighborhood Association. He is also the treasurer for the SEIU United Healthcare Workers API Caucus and is a shop steward for the union. He’s a former neighborhoods commissioner and wants to prioritize homelessness and public safety.

Sandoval helped spearhead projects to clean up Monterey Road, worked to protect Coyote Valley and led efforts to keep a rail corridor in San Jose operated by Union Pacific Railroad safe and clean. While Sandoval supports temporary homes for the unhoused, she cautioned against building more in the district because there are 500 low-income homes completed or in the pipeline.

She is a mobile home resident and wants to prioritize affordable housing and stronger rent control.

During the race, Prasad raised the most money with $72,591 as of Dec. 31, 2023. He was followed by Campos who raised $49,956.

This story will be updated.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Comment Policy (updated 5/10/2023): Readers are required to log in through a social media or email platform to confirm authenticity. We reserve the right to delete comments or ban users who engage in personal attacks, hate speech, excess profanity or make verifiably false statements. Comments are moderated and approved by admin.

Leave a Reply